Above: The rescued toco toucans have arrived at Paradise Park, their new home


TWENTY-SEVEN BIRDS CAUGHT up in illegal trade within the EU have found a safe home at Cornwall’s Paradise Park.

Having been confiscated by the Belgian authorities, all 27 birds were unable to be repatriated as it was not clear where each had originated from and many were suffering from health issues. With the assistance of Specialist Wildlife Services, the birds – including two toco toucans (Ramphastos toco) – have settled in at Paradise Park.

DNA samples have been taken to confirm the gender of the birds. Once the results are back, staff will work with other EAZA zoos to ensure, where possible, that these birds are included in sustainable breeding programmes.

Paradise Park regularly offers assistance in illegal-trade cases, and it is income from park visitors that funds this vital work.

“Although Paradise Park is not presently receiving any income from visitors, as it is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the illegal trade in wild birds sadly continues,” said curator David Woolcock. “Not only do we now have a further 27 mouths to feed but some of the birds have chronic health issues, which will require additional and long-term veterinary care. Despite these difficult times we continue our commitment to provide help to birds in desperate need whenever we can.”

The recovered birds have been set up in aviaries, giving them the opportunity to fly and bathe, and their diets have been decided on.

“Veterinary treatments for several of them have already started,” added Mr Woolcock.

Many of the birds – such as pine grosbeaks and including the toucans – have severe foot lesion. Mr Woolcock said: “The park’s vet is hopeful for a good outcome on their foot issues in the long term.”

It costs more than £1,500 a week just for the food for the nearly 1,200 animals at Paradise Park. Any donation, no matter how big or small, will make a difference until the park can open. To donate, visit: https://paradisepark.org.uk/support-us/donations


On the list: the confiscated birds now at Paradise Park

ONE azure tit (Cyanistes cyanus); one purple-crested turaco (Tauraco porphyreolophus); two Livingstone’s turaco (T. livingstonii); two Moussier’s redstart (Phoenicurus moussieri); two toco toucan; four red-crested turaco (T. erythrolophus); four white-crested turaco (T. leucolophus); five pine grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator); six white-cheeked turaco (T. leucotis).


Toucan cam

WATCH as the toco toucans settle into their new surroundings here.

For more news from Cage & Aviary Birdsclick here.